As soon as my house comes into a view, a smile tugs at the corners of my mouth. Fuck, I know I shouldn’t be this excited to see her. But I can’t help myself. Having Daisy around just feels… right, somehow. Over the last few days, we’ve settled into a routine of sorts. She makes breakfast and we eat together, while I’m gone she tidies the house, and in the evening, we cook together. And it feels damn good.
In the beginning, the cynical part of me sneered at my playing house with Daisy, but that part has gotten quieter every day I spend with her. She’s an amazing woman, plain and simple. Despite what she’s been through, there’s a cheerful lightness about her I find addictive. So addictive that I’ve been coming home earlier and earlier.
When I push open the door, Daisy looks up from her book, a radiant smile on her face that makes my heart beat faster. “Burke! I wasn’t expecting you for at least another hour,” she says, putting the book down and coming toward me.
Without thinking, I spread my arms wide, and when she steps into my embrace, it feels like the most natural thing in the world.
“I’m sorry I’m so sweaty,” I mumble, and I feel her smile against my chest.
“I don’t mind.”
“I probably smell bad, too.”
She giggles. “Some people say it’s manly.”
Grinning, I hold on to her tighter. I could stay like this for hours. When I finally let go of Daisy, her face is tinged pink and her breathing uneven. She’s looking up at me, and I’m looking right back, and the tension between us is tangible. I could kiss her. I should’ve kissed her yesterday, when I dabbed that eyelash off her cheek. Fuck, I want to kiss her. But she’ll be leaving soon, and then I’ll be alone again.
“I should probably shower,” I say, rubbing the back of neck.
“You go ahead. I’ll have the coffee ready when you’re done.”
I shake my head, smiling at her. “Where have you been all my life?”
She shrugs, showing her cute dimple. “Waiting for you to find me.”
“At the side of the road, half frozen to death?”
She laughs, exposing the pale column of her throat. Then she looks at me with shining eyes. “Maybe it was worth it to meet you.”
I open my mouth to respond, just to close it again. I’ve never been a man of many words. It’s never bothered me until now. But in this moment, I wish I was more like Stephen, always ready with a charming comment, always knowing what to say to a woman.
“Maybe it was,” I manage before turning and making my way to the bathroom, hating that I couldn’t tell her just how glad I am that we met.
I take off my clothes and hop into the shower, letting the warm water soothe me. I have to come up with something better to say to her. Even if she’ll leave soon, I have to let her know how much it means to me that we met; how much she means to me.
I know we’ve only known each other for less than a week. But since I met Daisy, I’ve been happier than I’ve been in a very long time. And I need her to know that.
I turn off the water and dry myself off. I put on a fresh pair of boxers and reach for a T-shirt, when I hear a cry of pain coming from the kitchen, follow by a muffled curse. My heartbeat goes into overdrive and I run to the kitchen, needing to make sure Daisy is okay.
“Shit, shit, shit,” I say under my breath, shaking my hand, tears of pain stinging my eyes.
“What happened? Are you okay?”
I turn my head to see Burke bursting into the kitchen, his eyes wild with worry. He’s only wearing boxers. For a moment, I forget about my burning hand while I take in his body. He’s muscular, but not like someone who spends hours in the gym. He just looks… strong. Powerful. I can’t take my eyes off the line of hair, running from under his navel to the waistband of his boxers.
“Daisy? Tell me what happened.”
I give my head a shake and look into Burke’s worried face. “I poured boiling water over my hand when I was making coffee.”
He glances at my hand and sucks in a sharp breath. Then he rushes over to me and grabs my non-injured hand, pulling me to the sink. He turns on the water and holds a finger underneath the stream to make sure it’s cold. “Put your hand under the water. You need to cool it immediately.”
As soon as the water touches against my burning skin, I let out a sigh of relief.